|Ian McIlwaine, with sons, Tyler, 4, left, and Connor, 6, have had to deal with a |
police visit to their home in Squamish, B.C.,
after neighbours complained Tyler was playing outside naked.
Ian McIlwaine of Squamish, British Columbia, said his family is "shaken and very upset" after RCMP, responding to a complaint by neighbours, visited the family's home because his four-year-old son was playing in the yard naked.
On Sunday, McIlwaine took advantage of the warm weather to wax his car outside his home, with his two sons, Tyler, and Conner, 6, playing nearby.
"First hot day of spring, and they're itching to get outside after a long Canadian winter and first thing they want to do is have a water fight," he told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.
Tyler got his pants wet and McIlwaine told him to put on some shorts. Instead, the boy emerged from the house naked.
"It was all what seemed to be harmless innocence. I felt like at four years old, he's still pure, he's still innocent," said McIlwaine.
|Squamish Harbour - about halfway between Vancouver and Whistler|
The police were at the house for more than half an hour, telling her that there could be "further action" if the child is found outdoors naked again.
Mcllwaine returned early from his trip and went to the detachment the next day. He was told police had to respond to the call because it involved a child.
"The disturbing part of it was ... I had [previously had] a break-in in the middle of the day, with my wife and children inside the house eating lunch, and the RCMP had never even bothered to come — they said that they didn't have resources," he said.
McIlwaine said his older son is now afraid of the police — fearing he and his brother could be taken away from their parents.
|Squamish, British Columbia|
The Squamish RCMP declined an interview, but provided a written statement from Staff Sgt. Brian Cumming.
"I have spoken to Mrs. and Mr. McIlwaine, explained that we responded to a complaint from another citizen about their son being out on the street with no clothes on a few days earlier," it reads.
"They did not feel this was handled well by the officers responding despite my explanations, and I offered an apology for the fact that they were not happy and felt their son was now afraid of the police."
I have known several RCMP officers over the years and have nothing but respect for them. However, assuming we have 'all the facts', which is a big assumption, they might have over-reacted to this incident.
A small child playing naked outside is not a rare thing in any country on a warm day. Had he been out there naked on a cold day, well, that might be worth investigating.
The article doesn't tell us whether the neighbour feared neglect or abuse. Fear of abuse would simply be absurd and should have been summarily dismissed immediately. Pedophiles generally don't work in plain view, and their victims don't generally run around playing.
I think both the neighbour and the RCMP could have shown better judgment in the case, and I'm glad to see the apology even if Sgt. Cumming put all the responsibility for the upsets on the family.